What I saw: NFL week one

I am, sadly, just one man, and though I enjoy watching football, I have both limited time and severely limited patience for car insurance, Mannings, and color commentators insisting that no, actually garbage player/coach/team X is not actually garbage. I can only do so much.

But here’s what I saw.

Chiefs vs. Lions

Detroit’s legit, which is such a strange thing to type and feels like an error. The Lions showed a blend of structure, aggression, confidence, and fearlessness–clearly inspired by coach Dan Campbell–that caught the Chiefs asleep at the wheel. The champs were not ready, and they got punked by a team that was. It happens. They’ll be fine. But the opener was a great reminder that football’s a battle of emotion and attitude as much as it’s a game of Xs and Os.

I also expected Jared Goff to bust into a rendition of “I’m Just Ken” every time the camera zoomed in on the guy. Are we sure he’s not a Gosling?

Browns vs. Bengals

Joe Burrow sure looked like the highest paid quarterback in the league, huh? Dude’s gotta be hurt from that lingering calf injury worse than they’re letting on. That, or he finally realized what it’s supposed to mean to be a Cincinnati Bengal.

The Browns, meanwhile, struck me as a very skilled team. Normally I’d be excited to see a down-on-its-luck franchise ready to make a move toward contention, but the way that built that squad, and who they built it with, just doesn’t sit right with me. Trading multiple first round picks for an evil piece of shit is not the move.

Patriots vs. Eagles

After New England’s first two drives ended in disaster, I texted a few people “Yup, the Pats suck again.” The offense then proceeded to turn things around and look downright competent. I’m assuming Tom Brady slipped Mac Jones some of his magic TB12 pills between possessions. I don’t think the Patriots’ offense will ever be as awesome as their defense, but there’s potential for Jones and Co. to be more than good enough if all the new guys get on the same page.

Philly, meanwhile, looks like a monster. They’re stacked. And tell me Jalen Hurts isn’t at least in the conversation as the best QB in the league. Go ahead. All of his competition lost to inferior teams this week. What’s up with that? Yeah, recency bias is a hell of a drug, but that’s sports writing in 2023.

Jets vs. Bills

I didn’t see this one, but I definitely felt it in my digital wallet. I was just chillin at my local live music dive, checking my phone while waiting for emo night to start, when I read about Aaron Rodgers’s injury a few minutes into the game and burst out laughing. Of course that’s the way his big Jets debut went; they’re the Jets! I’d already placed a wager on the Bills to win straight up, but in my gleeful rush to amuse myself further by capitalizing on the Jets’ misfortune I also bet the under.

The Jets, with Zach Wilson ably filling in for Rodgers, won the game in overtime with enough to trigger the over. I lost both bets. If you’d told me at the end of last week that I’d be losing wagers on the Bills, Chiefs, and Bengals this weekend I would’ve asked if you’ve gotten into Rodgers’s supply of locally foraged mushrooms.

Let that be a lesson to you, kids: never gamble again. At least not until next weekend.